Family reunification : change in income conditions

Family reunification : change in income conditions

Since May 1, 2022, the conditions necessary to submit a valid application for family reunification have been modified.

The means of subsistence which previously had to be equivalent to 1,739 EUR net/month have been indexed to the sum of 1809.32 EUR net/month (on 05/01/2022), i.e. 120% of the social integration income (referred to in article 14.§1, 3° of the law of 26 May 2002 concerning the right to social integration and indexed each year.

It will therefore be important to pay attention to this change when submitting your application for family reunification.

If your application for family reunification is being processed within our firm, we invite you to recontact the lawyer in charge of your file by email in order to check with her if your file still meets the conditions, or if it should be updated with new elements.

–> For more information: https://bit.ly/3xbYtN5

As a reminder, the conditions to be met in order to submit a complete application for family reunification are the following:

  1. Identity documents and proof of relationship to the applicant 

The sponsor who applies for family reunification will have to produce identity documents as well as proof of the link with his/her sponsor by means of official documents, and in the case of a registered partnership or marriage outside the EU, he/she will have to produce documents showing proof of a stable, lasting and sincere relationship.

  1. Housing and mutual insurance

The sponsored person must provide proof that the sponsor has sufficient accommodation to receive the family member(s) who apply(s) to join him/her, as well as health insurance covering the risks for him/herself and his/her family in Belgium.

  1. Stable and regular livelihoods

The sponsor who is being reunited must provide proof of stable, regular and sufficient means of subsistence to support himself and his family members so as not to become a burden on the public authorities.

The livelihood of the person being reached must be stable, regular and sufficient.

What income is considered? 

  1. The revenues of the group
  • If the consolidator is an employee, he or she may submit: 

– an employment contract

– pay slips

(Temporary or fixed-term contracts: on condition that you can prove that you have been working continuously for at least 12 months with the same employer, or permanent contracts: last 6 months)

  • the last warning-roll extract issued by the FPS Finance or the certificate of the FPS Finance attesting the future tax liability
  • bank statements
  • a pension statement
  • proof of rental income, 
  • or any other document that demonstrates that he/she has a stable, regular and sufficient income
  • If the consolidator is self-employed
  1. Self-employed individual

It may present:

  • a copy of his last personal income tax notice or, if he has not yet received it, a copy of the last declaration sent to the FPS Finance
  • the detailed simulation of this declaration
  • proof that he or she is still self-employed.

In view of the long period of time that may elapse between the sending of the last warning and the filing of the application for family reunification, it is recommended that the sponsor also submit all documents that may be used to calculate the tax, and all documents that allow the sponsor to assess his or her current means of subsistence, for example 

  • Proven accounting documents (balance sheets, bank accounts, invoices, etc.) 

– proof of rental income (registered lease + property deed + bank statements proving the collection of rents + 

last notice extracted from the roll + amortization table in case of credit + proof of payment of the real estate withholding tax)

  • a document showing the amount of social security contributions paid, or proof that the applicant is exempt
  • bank statements for the last 12 months

Company director

If the applicant is a business owner, he or she must submit the following documents:

  • a copy of his last personal income tax notice or, if he has not yet received it, a copy of the last declaration sent to the FPS Finance
  • the detailed simulation of this declaration 
  • a document showing the amount of social security contributions paid 
  • a copy of the tax form 281.20 with proof that the document presented to the Foreigners’ Office is identical to the document sent to the FPS Finance (e.g.: a stamp of the FPS Finance, a 325.20 summary statement with proof of sending)

Attention: the form will not be taken into consideration if no withholding tax is mentioned without legal justification or if the withholding tax mentioned does not comply with the scales of the FPS Finance. https://bit.ly/3aEno45

Other documents that may be used in the calculation of the tax and all documents that allow for the assessment of current means of subsistence are recommended, such as 

  • tax returns (which will only be considered if accompanied by supporting documents) 
  • Compensation statements as a company officer 
  • personal bank account statements 
  • proof of rental income (registered lease contract + property deed + bank statements proving the collection of rent + last notice of assessment + amortization table in case of credit + proof of payment of the withholding tax)
  • bank statements for the last 12 months
GOOD TO KNOW: Regarding the above-mentioned income for self-employed persons, the lists are not exhaustive and the Aliens Office may ask the applicant to produce other documents if the documents listed above do not allow for a proper assessment of his/her financial situation or needs.  The amount taken into consideration when assessing means of subsistence is net income (i.e. the amount available after payment of taxes and social security contributions). If the amount of net income is less than the legally required amount (120% of the social integration income), the sponsor must submit the documents described above and all documents that will allow the Aliens Office to assess his/her own needs and those of his/her family.
  • Other incomes considered are:
  • Unemployment benefits: if the applicant provides proof that he/she is actively looking for work, or is exempt from active search, as well as a certificate from CAPAC/ONEM/Syndicate indicating the amount of benefits received during the last 12 months
  • Income from a temporary job obtained after a period of unemployment or if this temporary job has been held continuously for at least one year and generates an income at least equal to the reference amount.
  • Disability allowances
    (income replacement allowance, integration allowance, and disability allowance) are taken

    Note: The law no longer excludes disability allowances from means of subsistence. However, the “Office des Étrangers” continues to exclude it despite the decisions of the “Conseil du Contentieux des Etrangers” to the contrary.
    in case the Office des Étrangers refuses to take into account this income, there is a good chance of winning the appeal before the Conseil du Contentieux.

    (Cf. CE, n° 243.676 of February 12, 2019; CE, n° 244.989 of June 27, 2019).
  • Retirement or survivor’s pension: certificate of pension indicating the amount of pension received
  • Mutual insurance benefits: certificate from the RIZIV indicating the amount of benefits received

In order to prove the stable and regular nature of the income, documents covering the 12 months preceding the application should ideally be presented, and even beyond if the applicant is self-employed

ATTENTION: it is important to produce official certificates mentioning the amounts received (salaries, pensions, mutual insurance or unemployment benefits…). The production of bank statements proving the payments is not sufficient!

⚠ The following income is NOT considered: 

  • certain income from complementary plans, such as the living wage and the family allowance supplement 
  • financial social assistance (CPAS) 
  • family allowances 
  • Waiting allowances 
  • transitional allowance 
  • income from an employment contract signed on the basis of article 60§7 of the organic law of the public centers of social action of 08/07/1976.
    (cf. CE, n° 9.224 of 20 November 2012; CCE, n° 172 691 of 29 July 2016; Butcontra CCE, n° 200 883 of 8 March 2018)
  • the commitment to take charge of a student (Appendix 32) 
  • income from the guaranteed income for the elderly (GRAPA) 

Note: the Conseil d’Etat considers this to be financial welfare (cf. CE, n° 249.844 of February 16, 2021; CE, n° 245.187 of July 16, 2019) even if the Conseil du 

Litigation has held to the contrary in other rulings (see ECC, No. 232,988 of February 21, 2020 and ECC No. 247,764 of January 21, 2021).

Income of other family members 

Income of other family members is considered in the following situations:

  • The sponsor has obtained long-term resident status in another EU country before being allowed to stay in Belgium for more than 90 days, and the family unit has already been (re)constituted in that other EU country;
  • The sponsor has an EU Blue Card (H-Card) and the family unit was already (re)constituted in another EU country;
  • The student is a foreign student authorized to stay more than 90 days in Belgium. 

(See CC, No. 121/2013, September 26, 2013, B.21.4.)

The documents to be presented imperatively

Two types of documents must be presented when applying for family reunification:

  1. Documents establishing that the applicant has stable and regular means of support, as well as their amount (see above).
  2. All documents that will allow the Aliens Office to have a correct idea of the applicant’s financial situation, his needs and the needs of his family.
    For example: the amount of his rent if he is a tenant, the amount of alimony he receives or pays, the amount of rent he receives if he has rented real estate, certain reductions attributed according to his personal situation, various bonuses, a certificate of absence of arrears in mortgage or consumer credit issued by his bank or the national bank, etc.) 

(Cf. art. 10ter, § 2, para. 2, and 12bis, § 2, para. 4, L. 15/12/1980; CJEU, judgment C-578/08, Chakroun, March 4, 2010, pt. 49; CC, no. 121/2013, B.17.5.1 et seq.)

OUR ADVICE: For this purpose, we provide you with a table to complete: 
👉 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1M_RD7wV7UljuSUp7YepdR2qLtvCxSJBP/view?usp=sharing
It is obviously not mandatory to complete this one, but it is preferable to do so in order to give an exact idea of the financial situation of the household. Bills must be produced, not proof of account debit (e.g. electricity, internet, etc.). In order to have a complete statement, you can produce a journal book extract

What happens if my income is below the reference amount?

If the means of subsistence condition is not met, this does not automatically lead to a refusal of the application for family reunification.

The Aliens Office examines the applicant’s overall situation and determines the income he or she must have to support himself or herself and his or her family without becoming a burden on the public authorities. 

In other words, the Aliens Office may consider the condition to be met if the sponsor proves, with documents, that he or she will be able to support himself or herself and his or her family with income below the reference amount. 

It is therefore extremely important to provide the administration with all the documents and information needed to determine the family’s resources and needs as mentioned above.

In practice: It will be essential to establish a complete household budget to demonstrate that you have sufficient income for yourself and your household members :

For more information

If you already have a file being processed by our firm and would like to make sure that it meets the income requirements, we invite you to contact the lawyer in charge of your file.

If you do not yet have a case in progress but are considering filing a case, we would be pleased to assist you in your efforts. An initial consultation with one of our specialized lawyers will allow us to examine your situation on an individual basis and to advise you as best we can to optimize your chances of success!

The law firm Halabi & Associés